Tech News and Reviews

In early 2002, after graduating from JNTU Hyderabad with a degree in electronics and communication engineering, Radhika Tamvada aspired to follow it up with a master’s degree. She had received offers from multiple universities in the US. “But my parents were reluctant,” she says. “Although they were incredibly supportive of my ambitions, it was not common at that time, especially in our family, to send girls to study abroad. Besides, I had a job offer through campus placement.”

She decided to postpone higher studies and took up the job. “That job led to another, and then another, and I ended up not pursuing masters,” she says. “Even when I got married and moved to the US two years later, it was the perfect opportunity to continue my studies, but instead I took up a software design engineer role at Microsoft.”

Looking back, Radhika says she has no regrets. “Whatever I wanted to learn, I’ve learned on the job over the years.”

Radhika’s work experience is as impressive as any prestigious degree. Over the past 18 years, she’s worked with Google (her work there led to two approved US patents) and Flipkart, besides Microsoft.

“In the tech industry, there’s a lack of women leaders and experts to exchange experiences and feedback with or to look up to. I think we should work on that”

Radhika Tamvada head of product, financial services, PhonePe

At PhonePe, where she’s currently head of product, financial services, she and her team of 10 engineers are building an investment product. Their first product is a mutual fund, and they are trying to make it simple and seamless to access. “One such example is how we transformed the almost 30-field, form-filling KYC (know your customer) process into just three easy steps. And with a data feedback loop, we fine-tune the accuracy of the system and minimise the errors. This drastically increased our conversation rate,” she says.
Early in her career, she realised that what really excites her is to understand the needs of customers and to see how the product she builds helps them. That’s what led her to explore the management side and join a startup, Flipkart, after returning to India in 2015.
Radhika believes that female representation and leadership in the industry is important. At Google, she and some colleagues started a mentorship programme to help connect junior female engineers to senior women leaders. “Something as small as having someone with similar experiences to talk to and look up to can make a huge difference,” she says.

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